Young mum and baby escape fire
South Belfast residents have been warned of the dangers of gas heaters after a young mother and baby escaped a house fire this week.
The 24-year-old and her eight-week-old baby boy were in their Melrose Street home — off the Lisburn Road — when a free standing gas heater in the living room caught fire on Monday afternoon, November 22.
Both were out of the house by the time firefighters arrived at the scene.
The quick-thinking young mother managed to flee to a neighbour's house after using a fire blanket.
The Ambulance Service was in attendance and took the mother and child to the Royal Victoria Hospital, where they were treated for smoke inhalation.
Fire crews put out the fire in the living room, which they say was started accidentally.
On Wednesday afternoon, a burnt sofa was still smouldering outside the property — but no-one was at home.
One neighbour who spoke to the Community Telegraph said locals were shocked after the |incident.
“I don’t think the woman is long in the street,” said Winnie Leeman, who also lives in Melrose Street.
“I think she got a lucky escape. It was a bit of a shock.
“I don’t know the woman personally, but obviously wish her well. I have an electric fire myself — this would certainly make you think about their safety.”
SDLP South Belfast MLA Conall McDevitt moved to warn locals of the dangers of gas heaters. He said:“This must have been a terrifying experience for the mother and her little baby and I wish them both a full and fast recovery.
“This incident highlights the dangers that can arise from free-standing gas heaters and further underlines the need for people to be vigilant when using these as a means to heat their homes in the cold winter months.
“The SDLP are currently distributing 10,000 leaflets in the Balmoral area alerting residents as to how they can keep safe in their homes during this dark icy period.
“There must be no shortcuts taken when it comes to personal and community safety.”
Fire and Rescue Service assistant group commander Paul Martin said: “The woman had a fire blanket in the house which she threw over the apparatus and this probably prevented the fire from spreading any further.”